TALLINN - Finnish gas concern Gasum plans, together with Estonian gas distribution grid EG Vorguteenus, building the Balticconnector gas pipeline which would link the natural gas grids of Finland and the Baltic States, reports Public Broadcasting.
The sea bottom studies for evaluating the environmental effects and planning of the project started in the Estonian territorial waters on Nov. 21 are to continue into this week in the Finnish territorial waters. After the studies, all the necessary data to start the environmental effects evaluation (EEE) will have been collected, said Gasum.
The Balticconnector project requires EEE in both Finland and Estonia and the current sea bottoms study supplements data needed for EEE. The data is also used to optimize the location of the pipeline and in installation of pipe safely.
Balticconnector is a project costing more than 110 million euros, where a gas pipeline passing through the Gulf of Finland will link the natural gas grids of the region. Linking the gas grids coincides with the plan of Gasum to build an LNG terminal in Inkoo Joddbole.
The Estonian Economy and Communications Ministry says it is not certain that the Estonian end of the Balticconnector gas pipeline should come on shore somewhere near Paldiski, or whether the pipeline would even be built at this time.
According to the initial project, the pipeline would be built between Inkoo and Paldiski. The plan is to start building the pipeline in a little more than a year’s time. The investment decision should be made by the end of 2014 and the pipeline should be in use by autumn of 2017, said Gasum’s deputy president Ari Suomilammi.
The government, however, also has to approve building the pipeline and there is no certainty there that the Estonian end of the pipeline has to be in Paldiski.
Economy and Communications Ministry adviser Thor Sten Vertmann says that this won’t be certain till the moment when the government has decided whether the pipeline will be built at all, and where. “We are, I think at least 1-2 years away from that decision,” he said.
Vertmann said that the most important problem about Balticconnector is who works on the project – two Estonian and Finnish companies who are directly controlled by monopoly gas supplier Gazprom.
Vertmann said that the choice of the route of Balticconnector doesn’t affect where the planned liquefied natural gas terminal would be built. Even if the pipeline comes on shore in Paldiski, the terminal could be built in Muuga.
Russia’s long reach
Not waiting for the Finnish gas connection, cooperation between Jetgas OU and the Saaremaa Dairy Industry, on Estonia’s biggest island Saaremaa, will deliver, the first in the Baltic States, capacity to allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be used for heating, reports Saarte Haal.
“The first load of LNG in the Baltic States will travel to Saaremaa; thus Saaremaa shows itself to be an innovative region in Estonia, the most progressive of them all in the Baltic States,” said Jetgas OU board member Janek Parkman.
Parkman said that the first load of LNG should reach Saaremaa in January when, according to the pilot project that started in summer, LNG usage equipment will be erected on the territory of the dairy industry. The dairy industry will start using LNG instead of shale oil for heating. The LNG will be brought to Saaremaa from a plant in the town of Kingissepp in Russia.
Parkman said that the ambitions of Jetgas are not limited just with the dairy industry and negotiations for the use of LNG have been held already with the Saaremaa Meat Industry and AS Level, that are located near the dairy industry, as it would be possible to install a gas pipeline there without higher costs.
Parkman said that Jetgas intends to build in Saaremaa also a natural gas station.